Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Dan Barnes at Canwest News via the National Post,
But Medvedev is not Russian hockey, merely a player in it. For now. The fact that he is trying to convince Igor Larionov to put a familiar, moderate face on the CHL as its first commissioner is a signal of his savvy. He is not the NHL’s worst nightmare, just a friendly competitor. For now.
“Mr. Medvedev obviously has a strong interest in hockey and we thought it might make sense to sit down and get a better understanding of his interest and what he is trying to accomplish,” said Daly.
The answer to that question will be different in a year or two than it is today. The assumption that he wants to hurt the NHL is a pretty easy one to make, but he resents it.
“It’s a very stupid assumption,” said Medvedev. “We don’t want to weaken the NHL. We want to enrich European hockey and the NHL.”
from Bruce Dowbiggin of the Calgary Herald,
The next time the NHL wants to send a message, try dialing 1-800-FLOWERS instead of disallowing goals. Since when did Tomas Holmstrom’s play in front of the net become a threat to competition in the NHL? Is scoring so rampant that the NHL can nit-pick like a PGA Tour official over some arcane rule? The way the league is hounding him—Saturday’s disallowed goal was absurd—you’d think Holmstrom, not Chris Pronger, was the one suspended eight separate times.
from Dave Stubbs of Habs Inside/Out,
Detroit Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood was impressive in his 4-0 blanking of the Pittsburgh Penguins in Saturday’s Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.
But Osgood wasn’t forced into overtime, obviously, quite unlike his late Detroit goaltending colleague Normie Smith on March 24/25, 1936.
Smith would make 90 saves to shut out the Montreal Maroons in the sixth overtime period at the Montreal Forum, outlasting Maroons goalie Lorne Chabot (66 saves) in what remains the longest game in NHL history.
From Mike Householder of the AP via Yahoo!
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said every team in the league will play all the others at least once next season.
The announcement came Saturday before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals between Pittsburgh and Detroit, two teams that did not meet this regular season.
Bettman also used his annual pre-Cup news conference to say the size of goaltenders’ equipment will be analyzed in the offseason.
A complete transcript of Bettman’s remarks should be made available on this post shortly.
Update 8:27pm ET: Complete transcript now available below, of the commissioner’s opening remarks as well as the question & answer session which followed.
From the hockey bloggers of The New York Times,
Despite the five-day wait for them to start, this year’s Stanley Cup finals have fans more excited than they have been in a long time: a dream matchup between two electrifying, star-studded teams from cities steeped in hockey culture.
No matter what happens, the Detroit-Pittsburgh Cup series stands as perhaps the biggest success for the N.H.L. in a season with many positive developments.
Below, the writers and editors of The Times’s Slap Shot blog look back at 10 key issues, good and bad, that defined the 2007-8 hockey season:
from Paul Hunter of the Toronto Star,
Of the NHL’s 52 top all-time, regular-season point producers, 17 have never sipped champagne from Lord Stanley’s mug. More than 40 of the players inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame – including the likes of Mike Gartner, Darryl Sittler, Brad Park, Rod Gilbert and Pat LaFontaine – are not on the game’s most famous trophy.
They could skate rings around lesser players but have no rings to prove it.
Ullman made it to five Stanley Cup finals but never won. It was his team that was at the wrong end of Bobby Baun’s famous overtime goal on a broken ankle, his Red Wings were just a foil in some of hockey’s greatest lore.
From Page 2 at ESPN,
1. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin: The most exciting tandem since Gretzky and Messier, these franchise cornerstones are a combined 41 years old, which is still five years younger than …
2. Chris Chelios: A first-ballot lock for the Badass Hall of Fame, he’s one of the fittest athletes you’ll see in any sport. He might be the only one to have actually threatened his commissioner with physical violence.
3. Not one word about Spygate.
4. Not one word about Roger Clemens.
From Ken Campbell at The Hockey News,
If the player who is under contract decides he simply doesn’t feel like playing – the way Niedermayer did last fall – he can simply kick up his heels and sit out for as long as he wants. The team has no recourse except to suspend the player. But here’s where it gets really silly.
The moment the player decides he wants to come back and play, the team must lift the suspension, reactivate him and start paying him according to the terms of his contract – as long as he decides to return before the trade deadline when rosters must be set.
It’s another classic example of how the players, who were supposedly clobbered in the last round of CBA negotiations, continue to hold an inordinate amount of power. After holding a team to a commitment by signing a contract, the player then decides if and when he wants to come back.
From Matthew Futterman at the Wall Street Journal,
For National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman, rock bottom arrived long before he watched three of his teams go bankrupt and canceled the 2004-2005 season.
It came in 1999, when Mr. Bettman looked at his major moves during his first seven years heading the NHL and saw that they were going to wreck professional hockey in North America. For one thing, the gap was widening between rich and poor teams, especially those in smaller Canadian cities and in the Southern and Western U.S., where Mr. Bettman had pushed the league to expand. Salary growth was also out of control. Worst of all, a once lightning-fast game was slowly turning into a boring grind.
“I watch the game—70, 80 games a year,” Mr. Bettman, now in his 16th year heading the league, said last week. “You could see what was happening.”
continued… a very in-depth article on the mistakes and accomplishments of the NHL over recent years
Update 4:45pm ET: From CBC’s Playoff Blog, an article arguing that the darkest days of the NHL have since passed.
From Ryan Kennedy at The Hockey News,
Now, I know the anti-fun militia won’t like this, but let’s take a cue from the most successful sport in North America – NFL football – and schedule some sort of pre-final Stanley Cup extravaganza. In the days leading up to the Super Bowl, you can’t turn around without hearing about some sort of event hyping up what usually turns out to be a mediocre game (and in Canada, we don’t even get to see the good commercials).
Let’s have a fanfest. Bands will play, the Cup will be there, Mark Messier will sign autographs and give out bags of potato chips – it’ll be fun. This year, an event in Detroit could have featured Kid Rock and Bob Probert. Pittsburgh could counter with Mario Lemieux and a reunion of his buddies from the 1991 and ’92 Cup teams. Bring the kids, we’ll party until at least 9:30.
Note: Perhaps an octopus-taste-test in Detroit counts as a fanfest?
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org